How To Get Past Those Tech Tantrums


The word “Tantrum” paints a picture all of us can easily identify with. We go back to the days when we would throw a fit in the street because mom wouldn’t buy us the battery-operated car or the candy floss peddled on the streets. She would pull and make those big warning eyes, but nothing would stop you from wailing like a battered child.

Children of today suffer a similar or more serious meltdown when we try to wrest them away from our adult-designed tech toys. At the dinner, at the cinema, at the mall and in the bus, your kid literally flies into a rage or refuses to participate in other activities when you snatch away your phone. He threatens to make you the centre of attraction. You silently submit to the temper tantrum, but you know it is wrong and you also know it must stop somewhere.

What should you do? Punish him for putting up a show? Or should you confiscate the iPad for a week?

According to the statistics available in public domain, 1 in every 10 children under the age of 5 years used a tablet, computer or cell phone regularly. On an average, most children spend around two or two and a half hours playing on a tablet or computer while a quarter spends more than 4 hours daily staring at a tablet or computer screen. Psychiatrists believe that these devices are addictive in nature and hence it is necessary to draw the line somewhere.

So, here are some tips to get past the tech temper tantrums.

Limit Your Kid’s Screen Time

The best thing to do is curtail the amount of time your kids spend on their devices. And, this should be a condition you put right in the beginning. Kids as young as 2 and 3 years should not be given smartphones and tablets in the first place. 30-45 minutes of screen time is the maximum amount of time you should allow your children. You can set a timer or a password to enable such restrictions. Also, insist that your children do not play with the devices alone.

Regulate the Content They Use

The amount of time your children spend using a given technology device depends on the content they access. Typically, it is the high-action games and movies that are addictive in nature. If your preschool kid is using your device, make sure you allow them to access educational apps only; those that help them learn alphabets, arithmetic, colors and shapes. iOS lets you filter content and apps by setting a Passcode or by setting kid ratings. Android lets you control the content your child can access by allowing you to setup multiple accounts. To add, lock down access to media stores to avoid hefty bills by way of in-app purchases.

Practice What You Preach

Don’t expect your child not to throw a tantrum in your face if all he gets to see is his father or mother hooked to their own gadgets. He will obviously follow in your own footsteps. So, be a good role model to your children by putting away your phone when spending time with your family.

Don’t Bribe Your Kids with Electronics

You did it once. You wanted to enjoy a peaceful meal at the restaurant and so you willingly gave him your iPad. That probably set off this bad habit. Psychotherapists treating kids with technology addiction suggest using electronics as a motivator rather than bribery.

Don’t Scold

When your child throws a tantrum, especially in public, you act on an impulse and scold him or push him away. The reaction is a normal one, but certainly not the right one. Scolding will only escalate his anger and make him more irritated; it is double whammy. What you must do is embrace the tantrum by talking compassionately. Mind you, embracing a tantrum does not mean give into it.

So, parents it is up to you to decide. Be the parent who teaches his child to use technology in a responsible or consistent way. There will be fewer struggles between you and your child.

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